There once was a story about a beautiful woman who met a gorgeous guy (my husband) who was really attracted to and into her, and how she screwed it up. What's the moral of the story? We all want to be loved, and if we don't have that self-love authentically inside, we'll do what it takes to get it, even at the cost of a potentially loving connection. Without being grounded in our own authenticity and self-esteem (the source of real confidence) we can sabotage a really great relationship.
How else do we mess up? Once we master being confident in who we are - simple gender differences. We treat men like they're women. Based on our feelings about our self which are complex, and how we think other people should respond to us, we will judge a man's behavior by our own self-perceptions and from our feminine perspective. We're super in touch with our feminine feeling-side, like a hypnotic suggestion she whispers in our psyche: I want to be loved and I want you to feel loved, I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, and I'm super in touch with my emotions. Problems can happen when we're out of touch with our own animus, or masculinity. And problems can happen when we assume that other people, including men, are just as in touch with their emotions as we are.
In a twist on the last example, here's how it goes down: a girl friend of ours, spying a hot picture of Angelina Jolie on a magazine cover, asks us in a tentative insecure voice, 'do you think she's pretty?' Now, as a woman we immediately register the nuances of this question and go on emotional red alert. We will say something to make our friend feel better. We'd probably avoid answering the question honestly. But ask a guy? He'd just tell the truth. 'She's one smoking super hot mama!' Our woman might feel rejected by this comment, dwell on his insensitivity, and maybe even ruin a good thing. Yet he was just being honest.
Mistaking their sex for ours happens over and over in different variations. One reader talked about a friend of hers who mistook sex (Mars) for intimacy (Venus) was shocked when her boyfriend didn't honor the level of care she thought was appropriate to their close-ness, with a specific birthday gift. In addition to mistaking sex with intimacy, she was also expecting him to do exactly what she would do. What woman would neglect a birthday wish?!
Venus is identified with others, the element water (emotions) so the feminine is comfortable in the realm of emotions and sensitivity. This makes her exceptional at adapting to who others need us to be, and we do this all the time (and if you don't think we do this, you're just not being honest!). Mars is identified with the self, the element fire (mental instinct) so the masculine is comfortable in the realm of thought and independence. This makes him exceptional at being independent, i.e. not adapting to others. Together, it's a beautiful dance of balance -- imagine what would happen if the world were missing either.
So in varying degrees 'tis true: men are from Mars and women are from Venus. Yet as nothing in life is so neatly divided down the middle- there are super-sensitive men and exceptionally ballsy women. The goal of being an integrated human being is possessing both, within the self, in a balanced way. The interplay between the two forces is the timeless relationship dance of the sexes, each intent on giving each other what the other doesn't possess, balancing receptivity and emotions with independence and rationality and vice versa.
We just need to remember that the feminine response is different from the masculine, and when viewed through that self-perception specific to the female mind, women make unfair judgments about men. It's why women wonder, 'He was my prince charming until he said or did that, what was up with that?' And it's why many a man has that thought -- 'Well, everything started out perfect and then she changed.'